Academic journal article The Journal of Developing Areas

An La-Aids Analysis of Cassava Food Products Demand in Lagos*

Academic journal article The Journal of Developing Areas

An La-Aids Analysis of Cassava Food Products Demand in Lagos*

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The study uses the linear AIDS technique to analyse how consumers of cassava food products in the Lagos metropolitan area react to economic and demographic factors and how consumer reactions can be captured to bring about effective policy formulation for food security and poverty alleviation through value added agricultural production. The results establish that demographic factors such as religion and residential area help to explain perceived variations in the consumption of cassava food products. Given that demand is price-inelastic for all cassava food products examined in the study, declining prices stemming from a bumper cassava crop harvest would lead to corresponding declines in producer revenues. In view of the high expenditure elasticities, therefore, a policy option that would boost productivity and incomes of consumers is considered desirable. Such a policy could be one that saps off excess farm labour through maintaining and promoting investment in the food-processing sector.

JEL Classifications: D11, Q18

Keywords: Demand, Cassava

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

INTRODUCTION

Cassava and cassava food products play very significant roles in the diets of Nigerians. FAO data for 2001 indicate that Nigeria's daily per capita consumption of energy from cassava amounted to about 291 calories-second only to sorghum which accounted for about 338 calories in that year (FAO, 2004). While on the demand side, cassava and cassava food products act as important energy sources, on the supply side, the entire production and marketing chain offer vast employment opportunities. In particular, the supply of processed cassava food products contributes to economic growth in the sense that it offers prospects for relatively higher income jobs through the creation of enterprises that engage in value-added ventures, while at the same time making available food products that are safe and are of higher quality.

Nigeria, like many other developing countries, is confronted with the problem of rapidly growing urban populations with their burgeoning middle class households and mushrooming urban poor counterparts. In most cases growing incomes of the urban middle class households enable them to dictate the nature and composition of foodstuffs available on the market. As a result, rising urban poverty means that a growing number of urban households cannot afford the food needed to meet minimum dietary requirements (see also, Onumah and Hubbard, 1999). Given that anecdotal evidence suggests that urban populations usually have preferences for "quick to fix" foods, policies that attempt to address the food security situation of urban areas must identify demographic and economic factors that influence the consumption of processed foods in addition to opportunities and constraints facing markets for these products.

The current study investigates how economic and demographic factors affect the consumption of cassava food products in the Lagos metropolitan area. The objective is to gain insights into how household characteristics influence the choice of cassava food products and how policy makers could exploit the relationships to enhance the welfare of both producers and consumers. In this regard, the results on elasticities, particularly price elasticities with their high relevance for supply management policies will play an important role. We consider processed cassava food products because, in Nigeria, cassava is eaten mainly in the processed form. Moreover, the Lagos metropolis is the largest and most cosmopolitan urban area in Nigeria. People from virtually all the ethnic groups in Nigeria inhabit Lagos State such that it characterizes the country's distinct ethnic differences. All this is likely to assist researchers in discerning perceptible demographic variations in consumer behaviour and demand for various cassava products.

There exists a well-developed literature on the relationship between consumer theory and demand functions, and on empirical specification of demand functions. …

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